Lebanon has detained two brothers suspected of being involved in a foiled attempt to smuggle amphetamines into Saudi Arabia, Reuters has reported. The arrests were announced by the caretaker government on Sunday.
The discovery of 5.3 million Captagon pills hidden in pomegranate shipments from Lebanon prompted the Saudi authorities to impose a ban on importing Lebanese produce. The measure compounds Lebanon's severe economic problems.
The Interior Minister in the caretaker government, Mohamed Fahmy, told Lebanon's MTV broadcaster during a tour of the border area from the north to the Bekaa valley, "We have uncovered those complicit and a follow-up of the case is ongoing." There is rampant smuggling of goods from drugs to fuel and subsidised food across the border with Syria from the area.
Lebanon was in contact with the Saudi authorities during the course of the investigations.
Fahmy said there was no evidence that Lebanon's powerful Shia Hezbollah group was involved in the case. Hezbollah has long been accused by Washington and its regional foes of links to multi-million global drug trade in Lebanon and Syria to finance its military operations.
The pro-Iranian militia controls the border area and its fighters move freely across the frontier to fight alongside Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's forces.
Syria is believed to be one of the biggest producers and exporters of counterfeit Captagon, a popular drug among affluent youths in the Middle East, particularly the Gulf.